Red Sox outfielder latest player benched for lack of hustle
By Adam Gretz,2023-06-09
The Boston Red Sox benched outfielder Alex Verdugo for Thursday's game against the Cleveland Guardians after he failed to hustle on the bases Wednesday night.
With Boston trailing, 5-2, Verdugo failed to run hard from first base on a slow chopper hit by teammate Masataka Yoshida and was easily thrown out at second base.
He was removed from the game prior to the eighth inning, with manager Alex Cora confirming before Thursday's game that he was benching Verdugo for another game for that play.
Here is a look at the play in question."There was a play in the seventh inning that I didn't like," Cora told reporters, via ESPN . "I don't know if people noticed it. We just felt like in that play, his reaction wasn't a great one. Obviously not busting his behind to second. I don't know if he's out or safe but I didn't like it."
Verdugo is the latest player to be benched for a lack of hustle or key base-running blunder in a game this season.
Earlier this year, the Detroit Tigers benched Javier Baez after repeated base-running blunders that were costing the team outs, while Atlanta pulled Marcel Ozuna from a game in Arizona just this week after he stood at home plate and admired a fly ball that did not result in a home run. Instead of an easy double, Ozuna was stuck at first base with a 415-foot single .
Over the course of a 162-game season all players are going to have base-running mistakes or instances where they do not go at 100 percent given the circumstances. But situations like Verdugo on Wednesday and Ozuna in Arizona are not going to be tolerated by big league managers. Nor should they be.
Verdugo has been having a strong season for the Red Sox, owning an .814 OPS entering play on Thursday. He was one of the key players acquired in the Mookie Betts trade after the 2019 season.
With Verdugo benched, the Red Sox ended up losing 10-3 to the Guardians to drop to 31-33, keeping them at the bottom of the American League East standings. They trail the first place Tampa Bay Rays by 14 games.